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Posts Tagged ‘musicians’

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month

by Casey | Posted on April 11th, 2014

If you have a love of jazz, you’ll find a lot to love in Virginia. April is Jazz Appreciation Month and as such, we’re shining a spotlight on our most beloved jazz musician, Ella Fitzgerald.

Don't miss the upcoming Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, Virginia.

Don’t miss the upcoming Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, Virginia.

Ella Fitzgerald, called “The First Lady of Song,” was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917. Shortly after birth, she and her mother moved to Yonkers, New York. In 1934 Ella’s name was drawn to compete in Amateur Night at the Apollo. She planned to dance but changed her mind after seeing the dance act that preceded her. Instead, she sang “Judy” by Hoagy Carmichael and was cheered on to perform an encore. Impressed with the natural talent he saw, saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter helped Ella launch her career. Ella became the singer of the Tiny Bradshaw Band in 1935 before recording her first song, “Love and Kisses” in 1936. In 1938, Ella scored her first number one hit with “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”

Highlights:

  • Worked with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie
  • National Medal of Arts Award by President Ronald Reagan, 1987
  • NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1988
  • Recorded more than 200 albums
  • Thirteen-time Grammy Award winner
  • Gave her last concert in 1991 at Carnegie Hall
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom Award by President George H. W. Bush, 1992

Celebrate Ella Fitzgerald with a tour through Newport News to see her birthplace, or take in a show at The Hippodrome Theater in Richmond, a venue Ella played early in her career.

On what would be Ella’s 97th birthday (April 25), The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will present A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News. Tickets from $29. Buy Now

Additional Notable Jazz Musicians from Virginia:

  • James Genus of Hampton is a jazz bassist who has played in the Saturday Night Live Band and most recently studio recorded with Grammy Award-winning Daft Punk. His talents are heard on “Giorgio by Moroder,” “Touch,” “Beyond,” “Motherboard,” “Fragments of Time,” and “Contact.”
  • Lonnie Liston Smith of Richmond is a jazz pianist and keyboardist who has recorded with the likes of Pharaoh Sanders and Miles Davis. Smith is noted for mashing jazz with rap in the 1990s.
  • Steve Wilson of Hampton is a jazz instrumentalist best known as a flautist and saxophonist.
  • Don Pullen was a Roanoke native and jazz pianist who was well received in Europe for his avant-garde style.

Upcoming Jazz Events:

Did we miss any jazz musicians in Virginia? If so, let us know by leaving a comment.

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Events, History | 2 Comments

8 Incredible Virginia Summer Music Festivals

by Casey | Posted on July 1st, 2013

The words summer and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re matches made in heaven and very enjoyable when experienced together.

Galax Fiddlers' Convention

The Galax Fiddlers’ Convention is a competition/concert/jam session rolled into one.

If you haven’t yet done so, dust the cobwebs from your folding chairs and throw them in the trunk. You’re going to need them for these eight amazing summer music festivals in Virginia.

1. The world’s largest and oldest fiddler’s convention is found in Galax, and you can count on it being around for years to come. Held every summer during the second week of August, the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention welcome musicians and fans from around the world. In fact, Galax is called the World’s Capital of Oldtime Mountain Music. Go see and hear what you’ve been missing out on August 5-10 when the 78th annual convention convenes.

Listen to the FloyFest playlist on Spotify

2. Seven stages and more than 50 artists are scheduled for this year’s FloydFest, a four-day celebration of art and music spread over 80 acres on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 170.5. Visit the Global Village for arts workshops and demonstrations from 100 vendors and artisans. Plenty of food, a Children’s Universe and so much more! Scheduled artists include Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lumineers (ho hey!), John Butler Trio and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.

Listen to the Red Wing Roots Festival playlist on Spotify3. Red Wing Roots Festival is a brand new music festival, but it’s big and has huge potential. Don’t miss this inaugural event at Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon July 12-14. The biggest draw of this event is the volume of entertainment. Expect four stages with 40 bands, including big names like The Del McCoury Band, The Sam Bush Band, Tim O’Brien, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Steel Wheels. A kid’s stage will include special performances and workshops.

Richmond Jazz Festival

The Richmond Jazz Festival showcases top artists in an intimate, casual atmosphere.

4. The Richmond Jazz Festival has quickly become the premier event of its kind. This year the festival welcomes giants of jazz like Jill Scott, Michael McDonald, Chick Corea & The Vigil, Terrence Blanchard, and Dr. John & The Nite Trippers. Don’t miss this one. It’s August 9-11 in Richmond.

5. The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs is celebrating its 50th season this summer and promises to pack a punch. The kicker to this festival is that it’s not consecutive days, but spread throughout the summer season, giving you more chances to enjoy the tunes. Of note are Kris Kristofferson on August 3, Marty Stuart on August 9 and Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul on August 31.

6. The Verizon Wireless American Music Festival at Virginia Beach brings in bands representing multiple American genres from all over – local, regional and national. Five stages will welcome more than 30 bands this Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 1). The major headliners are Third Eye Blind, Barenaked Ladies and Daughtry, but other well-known groups like Fuel, Smash Mouth, Carbon Leaf and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are also on the bill.

7. Chamber music lovers will adore Staunton Music Festival, a nine-day celebration occurring August 16-24. Nearly 30 concerts by more than 60 of the world’s finest chamber musicians will perform at historic venues throughout downtown Staunton. Expect to hear pieces from the Renaissance through today with world premiers by composers-in-residence. Who wouldn’t love to be present for a world premier?!

Listen to the Interlocken Festival playlist on Spotify8. Extend your summer into the second weekend of September (September 5-8). It will be so worth it because that’s when Lockn’ Music Festival takes over Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington. It’s a four-day music festival with artists like Gov’t Mule, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Crowes, John Fogerty, The String Cheese Incident, Punch Brothers, Widespread Panic and Zac Brown of Zac Brown Band.

Find more fantastic festivals and events.

*Note: These aren’t ranked, simply numbered. Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite or tell us if we missed one that’s on your list.

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Festivals, Outdoors | 7 Comments

Crazy … for Patsy Cline

by Casey | Posted on April 4th, 2013

Winchester, Virginia was the home of Virginia Hensley, the woman the world knows as country music legend Patsy Cline.

Patsy Cline on the porch of her Winchester home.

Cline was the first solo female member of the Grand Ole Opry (1960) and the first female Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (1973). Her hit song, “Crazy,” was written by Willie Nelson and is still the number one jukebox hit of all time.

Patsy Cline’s home, now the Patsy Cline Historic House, is where she lived, slept and spent her “prime years” (1948-53) while pursuing her career. Visitors enter her home, rather than a museum, to find the cupboards stocked with Quaker Oats and other staples in vintage containers.

A 30- to 45-minute guided tour shows off Cline’s clothes, jewelry, newspaper articles and more in rooms with original furnishings, set up just the way any home would be. Purchase a souvenir from the gift shop and be sure to take a seat on the front porch glider for a photo reminiscent of Patsy’s (above).

To explore and learn more about Patsy Cline, check out Crazy for Patsy Cline – an itinerary for those wanting to explore all things Patsy in Winchester.

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History, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

Crazy for Patsy

by Casey | Posted on August 22nd, 2012

Virginia “Ginny” Patterson Hensley would be 80 years old this September 8. “Who is that?” you’re no doubt asking. It’s Patsy Cline, of course, and her home in Winchester, Virginia - the only tourist site in the country dedicated to the iconic singer – is now a museum open for touring and paying respects.

 

Patsy on the front porch of 608 S. Kent Street, now The Patsy Cline. Historic House

Patsy on the front porch of 608 S. Kent Street, now The Patsy Cline Historic House.

In Patsy’s Footsteps: Winchester

The Patsy Cline Historic House (608 S. Kent Street) opened to the public this year. She resided in the modest home with her mother and first husband from 1948 to 1953 and returned intermittently until 1957.

John Handley High School (425 Handley Blvd.) is where Patsy struggled to earn an education. She dropped out at age 16 to help support her family. Working the soda fountain at Gaunt’s Drugstore (S. Loudoun St. & Gerrard St.) was one of Patsy’s jobs during her teenage years.

WNC-92.5 FM Studio (520 N. Pleasant Valley Road) is where Patsy made her very first radio appearance.

The home you’ll see (but can’t tour) at 720 S. Kent Street is the one in which Patsy married Charles Allen Dick. You can also see the Winchester Star at 2 N. Kent Street, which is where Charles worked as a linotype operator.

Patsy’s parents, Samuel Lawrence Hensley and Hilda Virginia Patterson Hensley, are interred at National Cemetery (401 National Avenue). Shenandoah Memorial Park (1270 Front Royal Pike) is where you’ll find Patsy’s final resting place. Folks leave pennies on her headstone for good luck.

 

A glimpse inside The Patsy Cline Historic House.

A glimpse inside The Patsy Cline Historic House.

A Little About Patsy

Ginny took the stage name Patsy when a radio personality gave her a chance to tour regionally with his band, Melody Boys and Girls. When she married Gerald E. Cline in 1953, she became Patsy Cline.

Patsy’s first 45 single, released in 1954, was not successful, but in 1955 she was able to take the stage with Jimmy Dean on a 30-minute music variety television program in the Washington DC area. The spotlight moment launched her onto Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1957 where she took the prize with “Walkin’ After Midnight”. The beginning of her musical career met the end of her marriage.

In September 1957 Patsy married Charles Allen Dick. The birth of their first child put her career on hold for a time, but in 1959 the family moved to Nashville. In 1960 Patsy became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and in 1961 “I Fall to Pieces” topped the country charts and landed at number 12 on the pop charts.

An automobile accident critically injured Patsy in June 1961, but she made it back into the studio by August to record “Crazy” – a song written by Willie Nelson that would rise to number two on the country charts and number nine on the pop charts. In December, “She’s Got You” was recorded and would become her second number-one country hit.

Over Patsy’s career she was seen performing with Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and George Jones. She landed appearances on American Bandstand and played Carnegie Hall. By 1963 she had more than 100 recordings under her belt.

March 5, 1963 was Patsy’s last day as the plane she was aboard crashed in Tennessee. Her remains were buried in Winchester.

Like many performers lost too soon, Patsy’s notoriety came after her death:

  • Country Music Hall of Fame, 1973 – first solo female elected
  • Virginia Folk Music Association’s Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, 1981
  • National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award, 1995
  • Grammy Hall of Fame, 1992 for “Crazy” and 2001 for “I Fall to Pieces”
  • United States Commemorative Stamp, 1993
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1999
  • “Crazy” is the number one jukebox hit of all time.

For more information or to pick up a map of the Winchester area, visit the Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Drive.

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Destinations, History | 3 Comments

Be a VIP at the Richmond Jazz Festival

by Casey | Posted on June 22nd, 2012

August 10-12, 2012 marks the third year for the Richmond Jazz Festival, an event that is quickly becoming the premiere concert festival of its kind. Situated at an ever serene Maymont, the Festival’s smooth, soulful sounds blend sweetly into the laid back summer setting.

Richmond Jazz Festival

Richmond Jazz Festival

Richmond Jazz Festival attendees can expect to enjoy more than 20 local, national and international artists appearing on two stages, including George Benson, Dave Koz, India Arie, Trombone Shorty, and Robert Cray. However, the lucky winner of the Richmond Jazz Festival VIP Weekend Sweepstakes can expect a great deal more.

 

One winner will receive an exclusive VIP experience to include:

  • A two-night stay at The Jefferson Hotel or the Hilton Garden Inn
  • Four Richmond Jazz Festival tickets – two for Saturday and two for Sunday
  • Transportation to and from the Festival
  • Breakfast both Saturday and Sunday
  • Corporate Hospitality VIP Tent Access
  • VIP Artist Meet & Greet (photo and autograph opportunity)
  •  Jazz Festival Care Package

Enter Now
Official Rules

Sweepstakes ends July 18, 2012 and is open to U.S. residents 21 years of age and older. Travel is required August 10-12, 2012. Each entrant will receive a Virginia Travel Guide.



Events, Sweepstakes | Comments Off